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Tuesday, September 23, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 59.0° F  A Few Clouds
Music
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Crowd-pleasing Gaslight Anthem plays intense Majestic Theatre show
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Lead singer Brian Fallon seems refreshingly unfazed by his success.
Lead singer Brian Fallon seems refreshingly unfazed by his success.
Credit:Cailley Hammel

For some bands, it's all about the music. Skip the costumes, frilly stage setups and other extravagances -- all it takes is a few guys with instruments to really bring down the house.

That was the lesson of the evening at the Gaslight Anthem concert at the Majestic Theatre on Sunday. In short, it was a show that, although occasionally monotonous, succeeded in creating a surging energy that got people screaming and, every once in awhile, body surfing.

The punk-rock foursome opened with "American Slang," from their new album of the same name. While the group largely performed songs off the new record, its third, it also gave audience members the songs they craved. Only five tunes in, the New Jersey-based group performed its biggest hit, "The '59 Sound."

Throughout the show, one thing became clear: the band is modest. Lead singer Brian Fallon grinned before and after every song, and he sheepishly shied away from the mike at the sound and sight of his chanting fans. It was clear that Fallon, and the rest of the band, are still refreshingly unfazed by the success they have found in the early years of their career. They have been together only since 2005.

The Gaslight Anthem's members certainly know how to create an intense atmosphere and maintain it throughout the show. "Old White Lincoln" teased the crowd with dramatic stops and starts, and "Miles Davis and the Cool" was lengthened with a slow, persistent build before an explosion of sound, to the fans' delight.

Other highlights included "Film Noir," another popular song from The '59 Sound, and the group's decent cover of Tom Petty's "American Girl" in the encore.

However, not everything was perfect. The vocals were almost entirely lost under the guitars. That, combined with the similarity of the more than 25 songs performed, plus the screaming of lyrics by just about everyone there, perhaps made the show a little less enjoyable for newer fans. However, judging by the enthusiasm of the crowd, most people didn't seem to mind.

After the show, one fan said that the Gaslight Anthem is a band on the tipping point of its career. Soon, he said, fans will look back fondly on shows in intimate venues like the Majestic. Sunday's show was a great example of what the future may hold.

Openers Fake Problems and the Mezingers offered short sets of high-energy sound. Of the two, it was the Mezingers who won over the crowd their near-aerobic set, with only a few brief interruptions.

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